Giant Swallowtails are here!
I've had a female Giant Swallowtail flying around the yard for the past few days (at least I think it was always the same one, but I have no way of knowing really). At first she just seemed to be flying around with no purpose in mind other than enjoying flying around. I also saw her nectaring on the Verbena bonariensis and the butterfly bush. Yesterday she was flying around the rue and gas plants but apparently was mostly investigating because she only laid one egg on the gas plant, which I collected. Today I noticed that she was flying around and she seemed to be focusing on the rue. I didn't find any on the gas plants today but found 21 eggs on the rue, and of course I had to bring all of them in! It started raining (but only lasted a few minutes) when I was almost finished looking for eggs, so there might still be a few out there. I'd have gone back out to look but didn't feel like getting all wet brushing up against the rue. I plan on going back out tomorrow and looking for some more because I suppose that she'll be back and I don't want any spiders or anything else to get to the eggs. Actually, when I went to cut off a flower head that I thought an egg was on, it started moving and I realized that it was a spider. It sure looked like an egg to me at first!
Has anyone ever noticed that different Giant Swallowtails prefer laying at different places? Sometimes I get one that likes to lay on the seed heads after the flowers are gone and it's just the green seed head. One time I had a female that liked to lay right in the middle of the seed head. She had perfect aim! :) This one prefers to lay on the yellow flowers instead of the seed heads. Almost every one that I found today was on a flower even though I have plenty of green seed heads out there. I just think it's amazing how a creature so small seems to have preferences.
Giant Swallowtails and Pipevine Swallowtails are my favorite cats to raise. I like how the Giant Swallowtail cats seem to have a face on them if you look at them head on, and I also get a kick out of their sluggishness. The reasons why I like raising Pipevine Swallowtails is because I think it's so cute how they feed in groups. I also like how when I put the actual vines in the container (as opposed to single leaves) the cats will scurry along the vines like they're really on a mission. It's funny to watch them when they meet up with each other and see who takes the high road and who takes the low road. Anyway, I just think it's great fun raising cats, especially these two kinds IMHO. I hope that everyone else is enjoying raising their cats too.
It took awhile for more than just Cabbage Whites to be showing up here, but now I finally have various types of butterflies including the CWs (almost always have them...and even planted half a dozen cabbage for them...and have cleome for them too if they choose), the Giant Swallowtail, some skippers including the Silver-spotted Skipper, Spicebush Swallowtails, the momma Monarch (that keeps laying eggs to the point where I quit collecting them because I'm determined not to be raising more than a couple dozen at a time), Wild Indigo Duskywings and Clouded Sulphurs. I also have seen Red-spotted Purples and they sure like to nectar on the butterfly bush and coneflowers this year! I didn't have many Pipevine Swallowtails this year to raise. I don't know if the female laid the eggs up too high for me to reach or if she only laid a few but I only raised five compared to my usual 100 or 200.
What kinds of butterflies are you all seeing?